David Coburn, the openly gay spokesman of Great Britain's U.K. Independence Party, claims that Prime Minister David Cameron is "picking a fight" with the religious community over same-sex marriage, insisting that pushing such legislation "shows a lack of toleration towards others who look on marriage as a holy sacrament between man and woman."
Coburn and UKIP made their opposition to the same-sex marriage legislation known last week, arguing that civil unions are a superior alternative that would not hinder religious freedom.
According to Coburn, the government's preference for same-sex marriages over unions implies that "marriage is something else… if so, it is clearly the domain of the church and of other faiths – and it is none of the government's business to meddle with it."
UKIP also claims, "If the government does legislate in this way, we believe that any criticism of same-sex marriage which may be expressed by someone on the basis of their faith could be classified as a 'hate crime.' That would be a grotesque assault on people's freedom of conscience."
A week after explaining UKIP's stance on the same-sex marriage issue, Coburn contributed an editorial to the same-sex marriage supporting website PinkNews.co.uk.
In the article, Coburn defended his position as an openly gay man opposed to same-sex marriage legislation by arguing that it was a question of liberty.
Coburn begins his article by saying, "The same-sex marriage debate is not an old-fashioned left-right political issue. It's about freedom."
"I have always fought for equal treatment and I believe civil partnerships have achieved that," he continues. "However I think it does the gay community no good whatever to cross the street and pick a fight with people of faith.
"We have for so long been persecuted ourselves that it seems like performing an unnecessary victory roll over a defeated enemy to demand that our perfectly satisfactory arrangements should be called 'marriage.' This shows a lack of toleration towards others who look on marriage as a holy sacrament between man and woman."
Although UKIP is a relatively small party in British politics, it has benefitted from some recent defections from other groups over same-sex marriage.
Two weeks ago, former Conservative Roger Helmer changed his affiliation to UKIP after praising the comments of Scottish Catholic leader Cardinal O'Brien, who claims that gay marriage is a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."